Join us at the Bible Cafe™ for a study about gratitude. We’re using the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp for this online Bible study. For this online Bible study, read two easy chapters and join a small group.

What is the meaning of your name? Do you feel you are living up to that meaning? My last name means ‘friend of God” and yes, I do feel that has been something I treasure today. Years ago as a prodigal, I was not living up to my name.

There are many stories in Scripture where God changes a name to reflect a new identity or calling. I find this fascinating! Original names may not be intended meanings.

Do not obsess over your name meaning, do not compare name meanings. The point is to realize we “identify” with something. We identify by our names. Not our troubles and miseries.

Reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp we learned how the death of Ann’s sister triggered a season of unbelief. Perhaps now you can look back on your own life and see how the enemy of God attacks or derails us. A strong faith can resist these attacks. We strengthen our faith through regular Bible study.

When we are not learning from our Bible, we are forced to learn from the world views. And a popular worldview today is the acceptance of resenting others. The worldview says I am entitled to be angry. The worldview says I am entitled to be resentful. The worldview says I am entitled to be offended. Yet friends…do I want to live as an offended religious Pharisee with a worldview mindset? Or do I want the character of Christ!!!

Offense, anger, fear, and resentment are CHOICES.

Living in the fullness of Christ- with gratitude and JOY- is a CHOICE.

I can pick up my pen of offense. I can pick up my heart of the offense. I can pick up my mindset of fear. BUT I CHOOSE NOT TO. I deny myself these worldviews. Just as Christ does at the cross.

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Why is it difficult to be thankful when we are going through hard times?

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (NLT)

Being thankful OPENS MY EYES!!!

Psalm 119:18 NIV says “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.”

Worldview: Walk around with eyes open to see____? News, lies, offense, anger, hate, division.

Biblical view: Walk around with eyes open to see____? Truth, peace, love, kindness, unity, hope, faith, and joy.

Your biggest challenge, your assignment, is to see the world with the EYES OF CHRIST. Stop seeing what the world around you sees.

Your “narrative” should be the narrative of Scripture. Nothing else.

Your Truth should be the Truth of Scripture. Jesus says many times. I tell you the Truth!! Even the religious leaders (Pharisees) were telling lies.

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp started as a dare, the beginning of a list season. It started on the backside of scrap paper. Could you write down one thousand things you love? I am fascinated by the “dare.” Do I love a thousand things? Probably. Do I remember them daily? No. So writing them down- pen to paper- puts treasures into a journal.

Since we started last week, I find it helpful to keep my journal on the table beside me. Not hidden under a project list. Not sitting near my work. For me, it needs to be a “gift” and not a chore.

After counting one thousand gifts, Ann Voskamp transformed from “ungrateful and entitled” to “grateful and blessed.” This reminds me of God’s purpose and will. Who am I…to edit HIS script??? Contentment is in the daily. Not in the past, and not in the future.

Martin Luther writes, “If you want to change the world, pick up your pen.” Ann Voskamp testifies, “Picking up a pen isn’t painful, and ink can be cheap medicine.”

Do you believe you can make a difference in your life by writing down gratitudes? During the pandemic, I was tempted to see the emptiness of the year, the frustrations, the sadness of it all. Picking up the pen kept my heart on the good things of God! I am not walking through a field of daisies, head in the clouds, and ignorant of the struggles. Rather, when I walk in my “field” I make sure Jesus walks beside me so I can get to the other side.

Let’s continue our journey of gratitude.

Christine Abraham writes for the Bible Cafe™ community. Learn about living by the Fruit of the Spirit as you enjoy her online Bible studies. Join Christine at the Bible Cafe™ University for weekly Bible teaching.